Identifying rare mutations in lung cancer

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Published: 21 Jul 2017
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Dr Raymond Osarogiagbon - Baptist Cancer Center, Memphis, Tennessee, USA

Dr Osarogiagbon speaks with ecancer at the Best of ASCO meeting in Miami to discuss rare mutations in lung cancer.

He highlights the clinical significance of rare genotypes for treatment selection and prognosis, encouraging the routine testing of patient samples.

Dr Luis Raez also spoke with ecancer in Miami about advances in lung cancer care.

I’m going to be talking today about relatively less common gene mutations in lung cancer for which we now have highly effective treatments; these include c-MET mutations, BRAF mutations, RET mutations in addition to HER2 mutations. As well I will talk a little bit about the KRAS gene mutation which is the most common gene mutation in lung cancer but for which we haven’t had very satisfactory treatments so far.

But the big picture is that we now have good reason to look for these mutations across the board in newly diagnosed patients with non-small cell lung cancer because for each one of these as we discover them we are quickly able to discover drugs that prove to be highly effective and significantly more effective than conventional chemotherapies.

So one of the key things, one of the key points I will be making today, is for lung cancer treating professionals, medical oncologists across the board, whether academic or non-academic, community based doctors, to be aware of the need to search for these mutations. Because even though some of them only occur in 1-3% of lung cancer patients the difference one could make by attaching the correct type of treatment to these patients when we find them can be tremendously difference making with patients living out many years from the point of diagnosis, even with what used to be really bad, very advanced lung cancer. So to get the word out about the need to test because we can’t treat with these drugs unless we identify these patients and we won’t identify these patients unless we test them.